Photos by Scott Susalla
Volunteer artists from Cheboygan bring you sunshine and happiness, brightly colored picnic tables in Gordon Turner Park. One person, Rosalie Despain, had an idea, to repair and paint the water worn picnic tables owned by the city in the park. Funding was non-existent. Rosalie approached the Cheboygan Area Arts Council with her idea. Their Art Vision Cheboygan Committee took on the task. Art Vision volunteers met with city officials to get approval for the project. They raised money for supplies to fix the tables. They had a call for artists willing to volunteer their time to paint.
Key volunteer Dennis Despain fixed the rotten boards before combining forces with Vince Lumetta and others to move the tables to their temporary homes across the county. Tucked in garages and workshops over the winter, plain brown tables blossomed into landscapes and landmarks, water scenes, flower gardens, game boards, and quirky, fun feats of imagination, like the picnic table painted to be a picnic table.
Jan Ross Howell, Debbie Purtee, Mali Thomas, Elaine Brach, Pat Gildner, Crisa Metzger, Kristen Baggott, Candi Wanicke , Pat Rintamaki , Cindy Hutchinson, Jean Shouder, Dennis Despain, Sherie Gerkiere, Lynn Turner, Betty Adgate, Scott Susalla, Susan Melton, Kira Boyd and the Coast Guard families all had a hand in painting tables.
Rosalie Despain is thrilled with the show of support from the community. “Volunteers from Cheboygan made my dream possible. We ran out of picnic tables! One family told me every Sunday after church they go to the park for lunch and look for a new table to enjoy.”
More painted picnic tables are on the way!
– Kathy King Johnson